Bradley Merrill Thompson, Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in the ABA Journal, in “Fighting the Bots Is the New Attorney Niche,” by Danielle Braff.

Following is an excerpt:

From lookalike photos to hallucination errors to copyright infringement, the rise of lawsuits against generative artificial intelligence tools reveals a growing frustration with our silicon assistants.

Naturally, lawyers are here to help, and some firms are hiring AI-focused attorneys—a new niche—to combat illegal AI activity such as biases and deepfakes.

Lawsuits against AI are snowballing, and federal AI legislation most likely won’t arrive until after the presidential election. But more than a dozen states already have enacted laws to regulate AI, and more are expected in the coming months, according to BCLP, a law firm that monitors AI laws. For example, Connecticut senators passed a bill in April requiring watermarks on AI-generated images in an attempt to curb deepfakes and misleading AI-generated media in political campaigns.

The laws and lawsuits are far-reaching. For instance, a job applicant is suing HR software firm Workday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging that it is using AI software to screen job applicants on the basis of race, gender or disability in violation of federal anti-bias laws. Last month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed an amicus brief with the court recommending that the lawsuit move forward and opining that Workday qualifies as an employment agency, indirect employer or agent of employers that makes it subject to federal anti-bias laws.

The AI legal field is rapidly expanding, says Bradley Merrill Thompson, a member and the AI practice leader at Epstein Becker & Green. As of 2023, the firm had been hired to file more than 200 AI-related legal matters.

“But I can tell you that number has grown substantially since then,” he says, adding that the biggest focus is in health care and labor/employment. “Some of the largest companies are investing heavily in this space.”

To successfully handle those AI cases, attorneys specializing in artificial intelligence and firms are creating departments or practice groups to handle them. At Epstein Becker & Green, 60 attorneys have been assigned to its AI group, which covers everything from intellectual property to corporate transactions. Thompson says the firm has been proactive in getting its attorneys qualified, sending some back to school for additional degrees and having others obtain certifications to help them practice AI law.

Thompson returned to school after 33 years to obtain a master’s in applied data science from the University of Michigan, graduating in 2022. Others at the firm earned graduate certificates in health care informatics or took courses at local universities.

In addition to the attorneys, Epstein Becker & Green also works with a team of data scientists and social scientists via EBG Advisors, a Washington, D.C.-based affiliate consultancy.

“We work as a team, so we bring in all of those sets of expertise together to solve problems,” Thompson says.

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